A Look Back: The Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival 2014

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

They say the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.  And if you haven’t fallen in love with Mexico yet, our Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival, would have you in head over heels, guaranteed!

Sabor + Vino 2014, which we held this past May, was Capella Ixtapa’s first culinary festival, and with the amazing feedback we received from our guests and visitors, I can promise you it won’t be the last!

Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Chef Miguel Baltazar from Capella Ixtapa, with Guest Chef Carmen Valencia and Chef Ramiro Ortega.

Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Chef Miguel Baltazar from Capella Ixtapa, with Guest Chef Carmen Valencia and Chef Ramiro Ortega.

“This region of Mexico has so much to offer gastronomically, offering an authentic Mexican cuisine experience.  We gathered well known chefs from different towns within the region to participate in festival Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino 2014, which established a sense of pride and honor, as we presented diverse traditional Mexican dishes, combined with exquisite Mexican wine and spirits for all attendees, complemented with a wonderful culinary event.  The feedback we received was fantastic, and I hope to see you all again at Capella Ixtapa’s Sabor + Vino 2015!” said Eliezer Quinones, General Manager of Capella Ixtapa.

The Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival ran over two weekends in May, and featured Guest Chefs,  Carmen Valencia, Ramiro Ortega, Karla Chápero, Jesús Ordoñez.  Hosted by Capella Ixtapa’s Chef Miguel Baltazar, guests were delighted by appetizers based on regional cuisines, cocktail events, cooking classes, two exquisite 7 course wine pairing dinners and a special breakfast where each of the chefs prepared their own signature breakfast dish.

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

Sabor + Vino 2014 was an incredible experience,” said Chef Miguel Baltazar.  “Four different culinary minds came to Capella Ixtapa with the same objective; to satisfy the palate of our guests, surprise them with the magnificent flavors and show them the best of their cuisine.  It was a great pleasure having them with us and creating the first edition of Capella Ixtapa’s culinary festival together.  For me personally it was also a magnificent opportunity to create, innovate and practice with these amazing Chefs for the Chef of the Year in Mexico contest, at which I will be participating in June, and representing the colors of Capella Ixtapa and our region.  Some of the unforgettable dishes from the festival for me were jack fish with black radish, scallops tiradito, jicama fruit infused with beet and mezcal, cocoa with meringue of salt from Zihuatanejo, and crystallized nopal.”

You can see more photos from the festival here, and mark your calendars for May 2015, for the next Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino festival.  Our team is already hard at work planning next year’s festivities!

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2014

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

47 years ago, the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival was initiated in Washington, D.C.  Today, the Festival has become a national and international living cultural heritage expedition, home to over 250 artists and over 1 million visitors from all around the world.  I am so ready for this year’s lineup, kicking off June 25 to 29 and July 2 to 6 on the National Mall.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The theme of the program this year will be China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya: Mambo Poa!  The China program emphasizes the themes of BALANCE and REUNION, processes of more profound importance than ever in China.  The program will also feature seasonal festival traditions, emphasize the exuberance of public life, share the meaning and preparation of Chinese foodways, engage visitors in craft and performance workshops, and highlight the country’s cultural diversity.

The Kenya: Mambo Poa program will present the ways in which the people of Kenya are balancing protection of their valued cultural and natural heritage with the challenges and opportunities for change in the twenty-first century.  Festival visitors will be able to interact with exemplary craftspeople who work with everything from clay to soapstone to recycled materials, learn about important fossil discoveries and so much more!

Smithsonian Folklife Festival China

What I love most about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is the opportunity to meet carriers of cultural traditions in a very personal way.  You will have the chance to ask questions and engage with participants to hear their unique insider stories and experiences.  It amazes me to think how Washington, D.C. has become the quintessential cultural center, home to so many diverse groups.  This Festival is a time to learn and appreciate our fellow Americans and their family sagas from generation to generation.

To get myself ready, I’ve been listening to the Smithsonian Music of China and Music of Kenya playlists.

There is no admission charge to the Festival.  I highly suggest dressing for hot and humid weather- summer will be in full effect!  Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so you are advised to use Metrorail.  Your Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant is of course on hand to arrange transportation services to and from the Festival as well.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Behind The Scenes: Preparing for A Taste Of Capella, Food And Wine Festival

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A Taste Of Capella

I am so excited about the 3rd Annual A Taste Of Capella, Food And Wine Festival at Capella Pedregal and after getting the inside scoop from Food and Beverage Director, Marco Bustamante, I can hardly wait.  Marco invited me to attend one of their planning meetings for A Taste Of Capella and I learned so much about what goes into preparing for an event of this magnitude.  Each year, the day after the end of the previous festival, planning for the following year’s begins.  First, the chefs have to be confirmed. I am happy to report the line-up for 2014 is amazing and includes award-winning chefs from across the United States who will join Capella Pedregal’s Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz.

  •  Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica, Picca and Paiche has elevated Peruvian cuisine to new levels.
  •  Curtis Duffy opened one of the best restaurants in the world, Grace, in 2012 in Chicago.
  •  Kevin Sbraga of Sbraga and The Fat Ham in Philadelphia and was also winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef: Season 7”.

New this year, Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only in New York City, will join Capella Pedregal’s very own mixologist, Osvaldo Vazquez and together they will create delicious Crafted Cocktails inspired by this culinary festival.

A Taste Of Capella 2

Marco told me this year’s festival will have some new activities such as Craft Night, an evening where we will see chefs, bartenders and spirits artisans create their craft! We will try tequila from the barrel, crafted beers, crafted cocktails by the guest mixologist, and of course, amazing food prepared live by the Chefs!  This year the culinary experience is transcending the Capella Pedregal gates and includes an Organic Farm Tour and lunch.  Chef Yvan will take us to Tamarindos Farm where he and the farm’s owner and chef, Enrique Silva, will share their secrets of their favorite Mexican dishes.

A Taste Of Capella

For the wine lovers, the wine maker from the Wagner Family of Wines will do a tasting of their famous wines from Napa, and the special Hacienda la Lomita will be present with the Unique Collection by Capella!  Every minute of the festival will be thrilling, but what makes me the most excited is to see what the team will do the final night at the Gala when they celebrate Capella Pedregal’s fifth anniversary.  I cannot wait for July to arrive and share all the happenings with you!

To learn more or make reservations for A Taste Of Capella, please call 877 247 6688 or visit  Food And Wine Festival for more information.

Detrás De Escena: Preparación Para Sabor A Capella, Festival De Comida Y Vino

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Estoy muy entusiasmado con la 3ra Edición de Sabor a Capella, Festival de Comida y Vino en Capella Pedregal y después de obtener información exclusiva del Director de Alimentos y Bebidas, Marco Bustamante, Casi no puedo esperar. Marco me invitó a asistir a una de sus reuniones de planificación para Sabor a Capella y aprendí mucho acerca de lo que sucede en la preparación para un evento de esta magnitud. Cada año, el día después del final del festival precedente, la planificación para el siguiente año de comienza. Primero los chefs tienen que ser confirmados. Estoy feliz de reportar el line-up para el 2014 es increíble e incluye galardonados chefs de todo Estados Unidos que se unirán al Chef Ejecutivo Yvan Mucharraz de Capella Pedregal.

  • Kent Rathbun del Restaurante cinco estrellas, Abacus y Jasper en Texas.

 

  • Ricardo Zaratete Mo-Chica, Picca y Paiche, ha elevado la gastronomía peruana a nuevos niveles.

 

  • Curtis Duffy abrió uno de los mejores restaurantes del mundo, Grace, en 2012 en Chicago.
  • Kevin Sbraga de Sbraga y The Fat Ham en Filadelfia, fue también ganador de “Top Chef: Temporada 7″

La novedad de este año, Ulises Vidal de Employees Only ,en la ciudad de Nueva York, se unirá al Mixolologo de Capella Pedregal, Osvaldo Vázquez y juntos crearan deliciosos cócteles hechos a mano inspirados en este festival culinario.

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Marco me dijo que el festival de este año tendrá algunas actividades nuevas, como Noche de manualidades, una noche fueron veremos cocineros, camareros y artesanos de licores artesanos crear su arte! Vamos a probar tequila de la barrica, cervezas artesanales, cócteles elaborados por el mixólogo invitado, y por supuesto, la comida increíble preparada en vivo por los chefs! Este año la experiencia culinaria trasciende las puertas Capella e incluye un Tour y almuerzo en una granja orgánica El chef Yvan nos llevará a la Huerta Los Tamarindos donde él junto con el dueño y chef de la granja, Enrique Silva, compartirán los secretos de sus platos mexicanos favoritos

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Para los amantes del vino, el bodeguero de Wagner Family of Wines hará una degustación de los famosos vinos de Napa, y Hacienda la Lomita estará presente con la Unique Collection para Capella! Cada minuto de la fiesta será emocionante, pero lo que que más me entusiasma es ver lo que el equipo va a hacer la última noche en la gala cuando celebren el quinto aniversario de Capella Pedregal ¡No puedo esperar a que julio para llegue y compartir todo lo que sucede con ustedes!

Para obtener más información o hacer reservaciones para el festival, por favor llame al 877 247 6688 o visite la Sabor a Capella para más información.

A 4th Of July History Lesson From Capella DC

Fourth of July Capella DC

Just imagine what Washingtonians of years past would have thought of our upcoming July 4th rooftop experience at Capella Washington, D.C.!  Georgetown is after all, one of the most historic of American towns and it is especially rich in 4th of July history.  Did you know for instance that on July 4, 1828, President John Quincy Adams officiated the groundbreaking ceremonies at the C&O Canal with the musical accompaniment of the US Marine band?  And back in 1850, Washingtonian William Gordon wrote this about his fourth of July experience at Parrott’s Woods in Georgetown, in his book, “Recollections of a Boyhood in Georgetown.”

Fourth of July Capella DC

“On arriving at the woods the day was celebrated. Patriotic songs were sung, the Star Spangled Banner never being omitted, and addresses made by young college graduates. Later in the day speeches were made by the elders. Townsmen of all classes participated, and barrels of lemonade and abundance of eatables of every kind were provided; everything was free and all were welcomed. After a somewhat strenuous day parents and children returned home tired out but patriotically happy.”

There is no better place to celebrate America’s independence than our nation’s capital.  The Fourth of July Parade is one of my favorites!

More interesting July 4th facts:

1801 – The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs.

1848 – In Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President James Madison, First Lady Dolly Madison and other VIPs in attendance.

1947 – In Washington, D.C., the July Fourth ceremony at the monument grounds is televised for the first time.

1964 – A recorded reading of the Declaration of Independence by slain President John F. Kennedy is broadcast over radio airwaves. In Prescott, AZ., Senator Barry Goldwater rides a horse in the annual Frontier Days Rodeo parade.

1966 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into law.

Source: James R. Heintze. Librarian, American University, Washington, D.C. 

4th of July Capella DC

All I can say is that we’re aligning the stars and stripes once again for a most patriotic 4th of July weekend.  Our exclusive rooftop bar & lounge is the perfect location to view fireworks and enjoy a variety of handcrafted cocktails.

Our overnight package includes:

  • Overnight stay in one of our luxurious accommodations of your choice with views of the C&O Canal and historic Georgetown
  • VIP access to our private rooftop bar, lounge and infinity pool
  • Viewing of the National Firework Celebration
  • Live musical entertainment
  • Capella’s Culinary Team will have delicious barbecue action stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, for $49 per person and $29 for children. (All food and beverage orders are charged separately from the Fourth of July package)
  • Breakfast the next morning in The Grill Room.

To reserve this incredible experience at Capella Washington, D.C., please contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail res.dc@capellahotels.com.

To book today, please click here.

www.capelladcjuly4.com

Japanese Day & How To Wear A Yukata

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Do you remember my story about the Japanese-German history in Dusseldorf which I shared on the Capella Blog a couple of months ago?  Then you might remember that Dusseldorf is the city with the largest Japanese population in Europe.  Actually, one fourth of Germany’s Japanese population is living in Dusseldorf!

Every year we have celebrate Japanese Day, where visitors and locals alike can learn more about the Japanese culture.  The event will take place for the 13th time this year and will be celebrate on May 17th.   The event takes place throughout the city, even along the Rhine Promenade.  I love to wander along the promenade, tasting different Japanese food specialties, listening to music and watching dance performances, combat demonstrations and even Manga costume contests.  At night the event is topped off with a beautiful firework display that lights up the entire city.

This year, the Breidenbacher Hof is getting in on the activities, with a fantastic Japanese amenity.  This amenity includes a lot of special Japanese things, prepared by our resident Japanese expert Keiko.  The most important part of the amenity is a traditional sleeping kimono, known as the Yukata.  Keiko showed me the correct way to wrap it, something I asked her to show you as well:

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First of all, you have to slip into the Yukata, of course.  Grasp it along the hem with one side in each hand. Fold the right hand side under the left hand side, holding it in place as you fold the right hand side over the left.

Use the obi (belt) to secure everything in place. This is done by placing the belt over your waist (if you are a woman) or relatively low on your hip (if you are a man) and then crossing the obi on the back and tying it in the front over your right hip.

I know, it takes some time to become a pro, but I am sure Keiko will help you practice and get ready for Japanese Day.  Just ask her during your stay at the Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel in Düsseldorf as soon as possible and don’t forget to tell our Personal Assistants about your plans to visit the Japanese Day festivities so that they can prepare everything for you!